World renowned architect Steve Giannetti and his wife and partner, celebrated interior designer Brooke Giannetti gave a fabulous, sold-out lecture based on their books Patina Style and Patina Farm to a packed audience at Virginia Robinson Gardens on April 12, 2019. The guests loved every minute of their engaging and inspiring presentation.
Seven years ago, the Giannettis lived a happy, but hectic life in their home in Santa Monica where they raised their children. In an effort to carve some time out to slow things down, they planted a vegetable garden. Brooke noted, “In the time we spent in our garden, we found that it was nourishing in so many ways mentally and physically. Time really stood still and gave me a sense of calm.” They were able to eat what they grew, and the vegetable garden led to having chickens. Making an omelette from the eggs was “so incredibly satisfying,” that the Giannettis started to dream about how they could experience much more of that in their life.
As luck would have it, Steve had a project in Ojai, California, and they fell in love with the area. They bought 5 acres, and started to realize their dreams, naming their creation Patina Farm. They built the main house on top of the hill. For the landscape, Steve wanted to create different emotional experiences in various garden rooms. Referencing Italian and French gardens from their travels, Steve and Brooke created an allee of cypress trees, a lavender maze, rose arbors, a pond, a greenhouse, rosemary hedges, a “cloud” garden created from undulating rounded boxwood hedges, and a fenced-in vegetable garden. David Austin roses grace the formal rose garden. Fruit trees, a guest cottage, and an antique fountain also dot the landscape.
Most importantly, the Giannettis created a haven for their many animals. There is a chicken coop, a donkey garden, and a little duck house by the pond where a plethora of yellow irises adorn the space. Goats, dogs, and sheep complete the menagerie. Brooke continued, “Our morning meditation is caring for our animals. It takes you out of yourself and puts you in the moment. Whether caring for children or for animals, it is a joy and feeds your soul.”
So as not to compete with the beauty of the landscape, the house has a limited and calm palette with a mix of antique elements and modern pieces inside. Giant sheets of floor to ceiling glass windows offer astounding vistas of the glorious gardens to enjoy at all times of the day. This indoor-outdoor lifestyle is experienced in all of the rooms. Steve continued, “When you are in the kitchen, you feel you are outside.” Elements from nature such as branches of fruit trees, lavender for sachets, lemons and kumquats for arrangements on the dining table, and cut roses are brought into the house, enhancing the indoor-outdoor aesthetic.
Steve works from his home. He feels that his creative process gets fed by nature, thereby allowing him to dream and to be his best self and the best designer he can be. When clients see Patina Farm, they are inspired, and the Giannettis help guide them to realize their own dreams of the life they would like to live.
Brooke and Steve concluded the lecture by showing the group projects in Malibu, Tennessee, Connecticut, and a French château and vineyard in Bordeaux —all a delight and spectacular to view.
After this remarkable lecture, the Giannettis signed their gorgeous books and very generously gave ALL the proceeds of the sales to Robinson Gardens. Andrey Yun, our talented resident genius, arranged a sparkling spring bouquet with green and white viburnum, white anemones, pink roses, and fuchsia and burgundy ranunculus. These lovely centerpieces decorated the tables where the guests dined on an outstanding menu catered by Joe Monteferante. A lavish spring-themed luncheon of lamb chops with mint relish, salmon, chilled pea soup, colorful salads, savory scones, a berry dessert and a sugar cookie with edible flowers was served.
This is our last Education lecture of the season. The Friends are so grateful to our hard-working Education co-chairs Adrienne Horwitch, Patty Elias, and Cindy Fields who organized such superlative lectures for us all to enjoy. If you haven’t been to one yet, don’t miss out! They start again in the fall. The entertaining and fabulous lectures, luscious lunches on exquisitely arranged tables, the resplendent setting of the Gardens, and historic Pool Pavilion will all conspire to enthrall and delight you!
Post and photos by Linda Meadows
Friends of Robinson Gardens Board Member